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Universal confirmations – all you need to know

Universal confirmations – all you need to know

1 July 2019 | 4 min read

Confirmations of credit are coming to all Swift customer payments

By the end of 2020, every single customer payment (MT 103 on FIN) will require a confirmation that the funds have been credited to the end beneficiary account.

Payment confirmations are the next piece in the puzzle in our path towards creating a seamless cross-border payments experience for our community and their customers.

What is a payment confirmation?

We receive confirmation of things every day. When we send an instant message to a friend, we get a tick to let us know they have received it, or when we make an online purchase, we get a notification from the courier that our parcel has safely arrived where we expected it to.

The same principle applies to payments. Payment confirmations provide the originating bank a notification that the end beneficiary has had the funds credited to their account. It provides certainty to transactions needed to keep the wheels of trade turning.

That’s why we want to bring the benefits of confirmations and end-to-end tracking to the whole Swift community.

Why are we making confirmations mandatory?

Payment confirmations are necessary to facilitate the smooth flow of money around the world.

Banks often have to handle multiple queries on the status of payments, creating frustrations for their customers and adding operational overheads. It also has a knock on effect of putting a strain on the relationship between a buyer and seller when there is a problem with a payment.

Businesses depend on knowing that a payment has arrived as an integral part of their supply chain. Without this step, trade can be impacted and goods and services end up delayed.

Confirmations enable banks to provide an improved customer experience by offering transparency and certainty that the funds have reached their destination.

And crucially, confirmations enable the building out of new value-added services to future proof your business.

Payment confirmations are the next piece in the puzzle in our path towards creating a seamless cross-border payments experience for our community and their customers.

What do you need to do?

As of end 2020, all financial institutions on FIN will need to provide a confirmation on the status of their incoming MT 103 payments. This applies if the funds have been credited to a beneficiary account as well as if the payment is rejected.

Confirmation is required within a maximum of two business days following the value date indicated in the MT 103 for non-gpi members. However, you’re encouraged to provide a confirmation as soon as possible. gpi agents must continue to respect the business rules as set out in the Swift GPI rulebook.

Confirmations should include:

  • status originator BIC
  • amount
  • currency
  • date/time of either the credit to the beneficiary account, or rejection.

In addition, it is recommended to also update the Tracker if the payment is transferred to an agent outside of FIN or when the payment cannot be processed immediately.

Find out more in the universal confirmations rulebook

What help is available?

To make this happen, Swift has developed a number of user-friendly ways to confirm payments.

Swift GPI member banks already have access to the full tracking and confirmation features of gpi, including full visibility on the status of a payment, the relevant fees attached, and FX and remittance information.

For banks who are not gpi members yet, you can send confirmations through a range of automated and manual solutions.

  • If you handle few payments per day, we’re introducing a free way to track and confirm payments – the Basic Tracker – a light version of the gpi Tracker allowing you to confirm payments manually. Basic Tracker users who meet the universal confirmation business rules will also gain the added bonus of access to basic search and tracking features. And the Basic Tracker provides a smooth upgrade path to the full version of gpi.
  • Banks will also be able to confirm payments through their existing Swift interface by using MT 199 messages to send status updates, or for customers who have access to the gpi connector, by sending API calls.
  • And we’re also building out solutions to provide payment confirmations through an ISO 20022 message standard, as well as a batch confirmation option.

When will the changes come into effect?

Universal confirmations will become mandatory for all financial institutions on FIN as part of Swift’s 2020 annual Standards MT Release. It will already be possible for non-gpi members to provide confirmations as from November this year when the Standards MT Release 2019 is activated.

To find out more about payment confirmations, visit

Join one of our universal confirmations webinars

Still have questions about universal confirmations?
Join one of our upcoming webinars to find out more.

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